When a film is labeled as the final chapter of a trilogy, you brace yourself for the ultimate sacrifice, expecting your beloved characters to meet their tragic demise. With James Gunn though, there is a surprising twist. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” defies these expectations, delivering an exhilarating conclusion that leaves our favorite misfit heroes unscathed and ready for new adventures. Brace yourself for some major spoilers!
In an interview with New York Times, writer and director James Gunn shares his journey, creativity and attachment he had with all The Guardians.
James Gunn – Going against conventional Storytelling
James Gunn wanted to conclude the trilogy on his own terms. He does so by defying conventional storytelling by keeping all the main characters alive and thriving. Peter Quill, the charismatic leader portrayed by Chris Pratt, finds himself back on Earth. Quill has avoided going to Earth from a long time as he didn’t want to visit after his mother’s death. But he gracefully passes the torch of Guardians leadership to the witty Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper). Together with Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and the reformed antagonist Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), Rocket forms a new team that promises exciting exploits to come.
Meanwhile, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Drax (Dave Bautista) choose to stay behind on the bustling space-base Knowhere. They’ll now help the citizens who chose Knowhere as their new home. Mantis (Pom Klementieff) embarks on a soul-searching solo journey. She’ll seek a deeper understanding of herself and her place in the universe.
Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), whose journey has been nothing short of complex. The Gamora you knew was tragically murdered by her own father, Thanos, in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Yet, a time-traveling variant of Gamora enters the picture in “Vol. 3,” forming an unexpected bond with the lovestruck Quill. While she begins to grasp the feelings the original Gamora might have had, she finds herself unable to fully reciprocate, bidding a bittersweet farewell to the group.
These conclusions are not endings but rather exciting new beginnings. James Gunn’s deep affection for his ensemble shines through in every aspect of the film, particularly in his special connection with Rocket. In fact, Gunn had envisioned many of these outcomes since he penned the first “Guardians” installment in 2014.
In his own way, he ended his journey with the Guardians but left open doors for them to come back in the MCU.
James Gunn on how he feels about ending things for the Guardians:
Sad and proud. But I feel like we did what we set out to do and I don’t think we could have done it much better than how we did it.
James Gunn Reveals the Vision Behind the Guardians’ Journeys!
Gunn shares that Gamora was initially slated to meet her demise in “Vol. 2” back in 2017. However, the creative team later realized that her death would serve the story better in “Infinity War.” Nevertheless, Gunn had a clear roadmap for the rest of the Guardians from the very beginning.
There was also a draft where Gunn toyed with the idea that Gamora never comes back in Vol 3. After Endgame, she goes back to the past where she meets her fate.
He also crafted a storyline where Gamora from the past falls with love in Quill Vol 3. But towards the end of this movie, Quill realizes that this Gamora is still a different person and he has to let her go and move on.
But obviously, James Gunn stuck with the current version.
James Gunn emphasizes that the heart of the trilogy revolves around Rocket. He has been a character you often perceive as a supporting member. Gunn envisioned Rocket’s evolution from a smuggling thief to the leader of the Guardians. This is a remarkable transformation that takes center stage throughout the films.
Gunn’s meticulous approach to Rocket’s character development shines through in every installment, including the Avengers movies and Thor’s appearances. Throughout the entire saga, Rocket is portrayed as someone who only acts in his self-interest or in the best interest of his close friends. He stands apart from the traditional notion of a hero. In fact, Gunn asserts that Rocket is morally more stunted than Nebula by the end of the Avengers series.
Rocket has consciously severed his emotional ties with others, cutting himself off from experiencing true empathy and connection. However, a pivotal moment occurs in “Vol. 3” that serves as a turning point for this mischievous raccoon. In a profound scene, Rocket accepts himself by rescuing and embracing a group of fellow raccoons. As he looks around the cages, a remarkable realization dawns upon him: the interconnectedness of all beings in the universe. He comprehends that every life holds purpose, meaning, and deserves respect.
This transformative moment signifies Rocket’s transition from being a self-centered character to a selfless hero. Gone are the days of his shady past. Rocket emerges as a force for good, firmly entrenched in the realm of righteousness.
That is the beauty of James Gunn’s writing with Rocket.
James Gunn’s deep understanding of Rocket’s intricacies adds depth and dimension to this beloved character. Through careful storytelling, Rocket’s journey exemplifies the power of personal growth, self-acceptance, and recognizing the inherent worth of every living being.
Another poignant journey unfolds with Peter Quill, whose arc mirrors the experiences of many individuals who have endured childhood trauma. Quill witnessed the passing of his mother, which triggered his escape into outer space—a metaphorical retreat from the world. However, as an adult, Quill recognizes the need to confront his past and reconnect with his roots on Earth. This personal growth was always a crucial part of Quill’s narrative, according to Gunn.
Nebula’s trajectory involves her transformation into a leader, albeit of a different kind. She sheds the shackles of her past and emerges as a unique guiding force. Mantis, on the other hand, ventures off on a solo path of self-discovery, breaking free from a lifetime of living by others’ rules. And Drax discovers a newfound purpose in fatherhood, realizing that his true strength lies not in destruction but in nurturing and protecting. These character arcs were intricately woven into Gunn’s vision right from the first film.
James Gunn Reflects on the Future of the Guardians in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Gunn expresses a profound sense of satisfaction and relief as he concludes the Guardians’ trilogy, feeling a gentle pat on his back. With a firm belief that the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in capable hands.
Gunn is eagerly awaits the path Marvel chooses for these extraordinary characters. His enthusiasm is infectious, as he eagerly anticipates seeing another filmmaker take the reins and infuse their unique vision into the Guardians’ world.
James Gunn hopes that the next creative team will embrace the characters fully and take ownership of their narratives, breathing new life and fresh perspectives into their cosmic adventures. Gunn’s eagerness to witness a new filmmaker’s interpretation demonstrates his love for the Guardians and his trust in the storytelling prowess of the Marvel machine.
Amidst these sentiments, Gunn exudes genuine happiness and contentment. His experience working on the Guardians series has not only produced incredible movies but has also forged deep friendships and lifelong connections. The bonds formed among the cast and crew are nothing short of remarkable, with Gunn attending multiple weddings, sharing special moments, and celebrating alongside his closest allies. The camaraderie and genuine affection within this tight-knit group leave Gunn feeling incredibly fortunate.
But there’s nothing official if the Guardians will return in the future.